Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Concert Goer Part 1


The Birth

Thanks to my parents, I LOVED music from before I even knew of myself. There was music sung or played in our home every day. When I was old enough to learn how, I played music on the record or cassette player or would tune in to the local radio station and just jam! No matter who was around, music was playing and I was singing and dancing…

The first concert I remember going to, I must have been 8 or 9 years old. It was the pre-war era in former Yugoslavia and I had big dreams of a solo singing career and a wild imagination. It was a warm sunny autumn day and, thanks to a radio station announcement, I found out that one of my favourite bands was going to perform that evening in our town . I was willing to do anything for my parents to let me go.  I remember there was a money issue my parents discussed and my dad was against me going (I think it had something to do with my age). But I just had to go as I was to be ‘discovered’ that night! I am sure that my then talent to produce tears quickly was utilized along with the well practiced pout.

Now I don’t remember the details (of who talked to whom, how we left the house or how anyone else felt about it) but I do remember my mom and I walking to the arena where the concert was to be held. I had the cassette cover of the band’s album in my pocket as I knew that I was going to get an autograph from the cute lead singer of the group. (This speaks to the faith and dreams of children which we should never lose. It also speaks of an era – do YOU remember having cassettes?) I don’t think mama or I knew how much this really meant to me nor how much it would affect me later on in life, but I do know that she was just as excited as I was!

After purchasing our tickets, we made our way through the massive crowd and finally entered the large gates of the arena. We found some space on the wooden benches and after we sat down, I felt like I was a grown-up. I mean, I was sitting amongst them all and I was at a concert! I sat up tall so that I could see the stage well and also to make my self better seen by these scouts who were to ‘discover’ me.

The band entered the stage and the concert started. Hearing live music…I was in awe. I was moved from within as my audio and visual senses were stimulated. I felt a little light-headed but that could have been because it was hot sitting next to all those people and I was overwhelmed by the energy and the smell of the crowd. I watched the musicians play their instruments and could now see and hear their talent for myself. I could feel each note that blasted through the large speakers in the middle of the arena (our seats were vibrating!); and I appreciated the way that these talented men moved, danced and sang together. It was magical.

I knew all the words and my mom and I sang along with the band. I, of course, knew that each band member saw and noticed me amongst the few thousand fans who were there. How could they not?! I was one of the youngest people there and my mom the prettiest!

After a couple of hours of pure goodness, the concert had come to an end. It was time to get my autograph! Except that I was too little to fight through the crowd which surrounded the band so mama did that for me. With the cassette cover in one hand and a tight grip on my own hand in the other, she walked up to a band member and said “Will you please sign this for my daughter?”. I know he replied with an “I’m sorry ma’am, I don’t have a pen.” but somehow a pen appeared and these men took turns signing my cassette cover as my heart filled with joy. My mom did all of that. As for my singing career which was to begin that night…although my body moved and I smiled, I had lost my voice! In a quick second I went from a girl who was going to sing and be signed on the spot for her talent, to a complete mute! (In retrospect, it was probably a good thing I kept my mouth shut. Not all of us possess the talent of voice with which to sing in public.) I remember waving to these lovely men as they walked away and exited the building and I remember thinking “Nothing beats live music!”.

That magical evening, thanks to my mom, is when the concert goer in me was born. With my little hand safely held in hers, and the very special cassette cover in my pocket, we walked home with smiles on our faces and our spirits lifted, excited to tell everyone about it.


Dr Maya Angelou

Dr Maya Angelou, Roy Thompson Hall, May 25th, 2011

As soon as I heard that Dr Angelou was going to be giving a talk in Toronto, I knew that I would be there. I just had it in my heart that I would be in her presence, even if I was far from the stage she would be on. I knew that I would be lifted and humbled and inspired by her, but what I did not know when I entered the doors of Roy Thompson Hall that evening was that I would make another person, a complete stanger, happy.

My friend Matt and I had decided to see Dr Angelou together. I bought the tickets for three of us – for myself, for Matt and for Matt’s friend. A week or so prior to the show, Matt’s friend backed out and we were left with an extra ticket. I thought about inviting someone else to join us but the weekend before Dr Angelou’s talk, I had gone travelling (my soul food) to New York City. It was the same weekend on which at 6pm that Saturday, the world was going to end and although I knew that wouldn’t actually happen, I just didn’t think about that extra ticket which I had in my possession. Instead, I took in the sights and sounds and smells (some good and some bad!) of the Big Apple and figured out some of my own truth which was liberating to me. But I digress…

Matt and I met outside of the hall that evening as raindrops were just starting to come down sporadically. We hadn’t seen each other in a little while so we were chatting away as we stepped inside the box office entrance of Roy Thompson Hall. I don’t know what was it about the woman which caught my eye. It could have been her pink jacket or her pretty dress with a bright print or perhaps it was that small sign she held up in front of her. I had almost passed her, but something made me stop and take a step back to read her sign. Written on blue paper with a bright blue marker it said something like “If you have an extra ticket I’ll buy it from you and I’ll be very thankful”. So I looked into the face of this pretty lady and I said “I have an extra ticket”. I do not remember if her immediate reply was “Thank you Jesus” or “You do?!” but what I do remember is that her whole face lit up with a huge smile. Her energy was incredible. I came to find out, through all of her excited chatter, that her name was Lisa, she was a mother of three who’s husband had just come to Canada (thanks to her sponsorship), who was short on money but was willing to spend some of it on being in the presence of Dr Angelou that evening. Lisa, with her single-use camera, took a picture with me because she “wanted to remember everything about this” evening as it meant so much to her. I don’t remember how many thank you’s I received from this woman that evening but I was thankful for her smile. Even before Dr Angelou stepped on to the stage that evening, I felt lifted, humbled, inspired and oh so very grateful. Isn’t it amazing to be able to make a complete stranger happy? What a gift Lisa gave me! For it, I am forever grateful.

“They” say that everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that. Although sometimes we look for reasons in things where it’s not appropriate, can you imagine how I felt when Dr Angelou started speaking about how you never know how you’ll affect someone and that you can always do more! And it’s actually true!

I’m not a professional videographer and I appologize for the added noise by my goofy laugh, but I do hope that you are able to get something good out of watching one of my rainbows in the clouds.


Part 3:
Part 4:

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